Nadler: Constitution Requires Congressional Authorization on Use of Force Against Syria

Aug 28, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, issued the following statement on the prospect of the use of military force in Syria:

The Constitution requires that, barring an attack on the United States or an imminent threat to the U.S., any decision to use military force can only be made by Congress -- not by the President.  The decision to go to war -- and we should be clear, launching a military strike on another country, justified or not, is an act of war -- is reserved by the Constitution to the American people acting through their elected representatives in Congress. 

Since there is no imminent threat to the United States, there is no legal justification for bypassing the Constitutionally-required Congressional authorization. “Consultation” with Congress is not sufficient. The Constitution requires Congressional authorization.

The American people deserve to have this decision debated and made in the open, with all the facts and arguments laid out for public review and debate, followed by a Congressional vote. If the President believes that military action against Syria is necessary, he should immediately call Congress back into session and seek the Constitutionally-required authorization. 

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